Baingan Ka Bharta

Baingan ka Bharta is a Popular North Indian Main Course Veg Sabzi made with Roasted or Smoked Eggplants or Baingan with Basic Indian Spices. Best eaten with Ghee Phulkas or Parathas and a side of Raita.

Baingan Ka Bharta

Any Eggplant, Aubergine, Baingan lovers in the house? Not to sound poetic but I have pledged my eternal love to this vegetable ever since I was a child. A die hard Baingan lover, I thoroughly enjoy this vegetable in all forms – Be it Kathrikai Sadam, as part of Sambar, Maharashtrian Style Kaap or Fritters, Raita – The list is endless! But, what I particularly enjoy most is the North Indian Sabzi called Baingan Ka Bharta.

Baingan ka Bharta is Smoked or Roasted Aubergine Mash with Indian Spices. The recipe is gluten free and vegan. This Sabzi is eaten as side dish or accompaniment to rotis, phulkas, parathas or even Kadhi Chawal, Dal Rice etc. Since the prep time is slightly time consuming, I reserve it for Sunday Lunch. It is low on masalas (atleast my version) but very high on flavors.

North Indian Sabzi Baingan Ka Bharta
Delicious Baingan ka Bharta served with Onion Raita and Ghee Parathas

This dish originated from Punjab, India (wiki says). However, it is made and consumed all over India in a variety of ways. Bihar has their version of a mash called Chokha, made in Mustard oil which is served with Littis.

Aubergines find their way in International Cooking as well, especially in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern Cuisine. You have Baba Ghanoush which is smoked eggplant with some tahini paste and olive oil that is usually served with some pita bread and hummus. Lebanese cuisine has Mousakka made with eggplants, tomatoes and chickpeas as main ingredients. I quite enjoy aubergine slices on my pizza as well.

The process of cooking Baingan Ka Bharta starts with finding the “right variety of baingan”. In Indian markets, the thick hourglass shaped Baigan with a dark shiny skin is reserved as Bharta wala Bainga. It is also used to make the Bengali Special Begun Bhaja and its Maharashtrian cousin, called Vangyache Kaap.

Tips to choose the right Baingan for Bharta

  • Long, thick (read fat) Baingan with a shiny skin.
  • Baingan should be firm to touch and have no spots or marks on the skin.
Baingan, Aubergine, Eggplant

The next method is the Smoking or Roasting. This part does involve some prepping and cleaning but it is completely worth it after you taste the Bharta.

How to Smoke Baingan for Bharta

  • If you are averse to cleaning your stove (roasting the aubergine makes the stove messy), then I would suggest applying a layer of aluminium foil near the gas burner. Note – I have avoided this step and prefer cleaning it immediately with a wet cloth.
  • Switch on the gas flame (low heat) and place a steel roasting plate with handle (as seen in pic). Note – Easily available in Indian Stores.
  • If you do not have a mesh, you can directly place it on the gas burner. Why I particularly love the steel plate is I can roast 2 aubergines at the same time.
  • Meanwhile, apply some oil on the skin of the aubergine and prick it with a fork atleast 10 – 15 times.
  • The pricking would enable the heat to travel quickly and cook the centre of the baingan.
  • Now place the aubergine over the steel roasting plate and keep turning it at regular intervals to enable even cooking.
  • You will notice the skin peeling and turning almost black in colour, with the liquid oozing out of the baingan.
  • You will also notice a considerable reduction in the volume of the baingan. At this point, insert a fork in the centre and if you feel the area is still firm, it would need further few minutes of cooking, else switch off the flame and place the baingan on a plate for cooling.
  • Using the back of the fork, scrape the skin. Mash the pulp lightly and keep aside.

I know a lot of people who are not fond of the smoky flavour of the aubergine and prefer cooking the vegetable with different masalas. My mother was one of them, absolutely couldn’t stand the smoked flavour and always opted for the simple stir fry.

Like most of my recipes, this is cooked with minimum oil and not the dhaba kind where oil floats on top with a plethora of masalas as well. I prefer cooking Baingan Ka Bharta with minimal spices. Too many spices mask the smoked flavor.

Baingan ka Bharta served with Ghee Parathas
Piping hot parathas ready to be savored with Baingan Ka Bharta

Step by Step Recipe to Cook Baingan Ka Bharta at home

  • After following the Steps above of Roasting / Smoking the Eggplant (explained above), you can follow the below steps of making the gravy with spices for the Eggplants.
  • Heat a heavy bottom kadhai and add some oil. Then add cumin seeds and let them turn slightly brown before adding sliced garlic and finely chopped onions.
  • Cook until the onions are brown in colour. Time to add the chopped tomatoes or puree (I prefer adding the latter).
  • Let the mixture cook for atleast 5 minutes and then add the masalas like turmeric powder, red chilly powder, chopped green chillies (optional) and some salt.
  • Stir the mixture well and allow it to cook until there is no raw smell of tomatoes.
  • Add the mashed eggplants to the above gravy mixture along with its juice. Mix well, check for salt, add any, if required. Add the garam masala powder and the roughly chopped or torn coriander leaves.
  • Cook this mixture with a lid on for atleast 5-10 mins on a very low heat so that the eggplant marries the masalas well.
  • Switch off the flame. Squeeze the lime juice (optional) and serve it hot with some Rotis / Phulkas / Parathas /Jeera Rice & some dal.

Serving suggestions for Baingan Ka Bharta

I always make extra portions of this vegetable and enjoy it the next day with some Dal Rice or Khichdi. It tastes divine.

Baingan Ka Bharta

Baingan Ka Bharta

Baingan Ka Bharta is Roasted or Smoked Brinjals cooked with Indian Spices. Main Course Veg Sabzi from North Indian Cuisine best enjoyed with paratha, rotis or even Kadhi Chawal.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, north indian
Keyword: baingan bharta, Baingan ka Bharta, Baingan recipes, Eggplant mash, Indian Eggplant recipes, North Indian Sabzi recipe
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 3 people

Ingredients

  • 2 nos Medium Size Thick Eggplant / Aubergine / Baingan
  • 5 nos Onions finely chopped
  • 4 nos Tomatoes (finely chopped or Pureed)
  • 7-8 nos Garlic cloves sliced
  • 2-3 nos Green Chillies finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder Use Kashmiri Red chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala Powder
  • 1 tsp Jeera or Cumin Seeds
  • 3 tbsp Oil 1 tsp Extra for Roasting Eggplants
  • Finely chopped coriander leaves as required
  • Salt to taste
  • Lemon Juice or Lime Wedges as required Check notes below

Instructions

  • Wash & pat dry the eggplant. Take a fork and punch few holes on the aubergine so that the heat travels inside and enables faster cooking
  • Now rub few drops of oil all over it and keep it on the steel roasting plate or direct flame (medium heat) and keep turning it at regular intervals to obtain even cooking and good char.
  • Once the eggplant is nicely charred, switch off the flame and keep the eggplant aside for resting in a plate for around 5 minutes.
  • Keeping a plate ensures the juices from the eggplant can be collected and added to the gravy while cooking
  • .Once the eggplants have slightly cooled, peel the skin (would be fairly easy) and mash the pulp or finely chop them
  • .Heat a heavy bottom kadhai and add some oil. Then add cumin seeds and let them turn slightly brown before adding chopped garlic and finely chopped onions
  • Cook until the onions are brown in colour. Time to add the chopped tomatoes or puree (I prefer adding the latter)
  • Let the mixture cook for atleast 5 minutes and then add the masalas like turmeric powder, red chilly powder, chopped green chillies (optional) and some salt
  • Stir the mixture well and allow it to cook until there is no raw smell of tomatoes. Add the mashed eggplants to the above gravy mixture along with its juice.
  • Stir well, check for salt, add any if required. Add the garam masala powder and the roughly chopped or torn coriander leaves
  • Cook this mixture with a lid on for atleast 5-10 mins on a very low heat so that the eggplant marries the masalas well.
  • Switch off the flame. Squeeze the lime juice (optional) and serve it hot with flatbreads of your choice or Rice.

Notes

Notes and Tips 
  • Prep time of 30 minutes includes the roasting time of baingan or eggplant. 
  • The Roasting Plate used here for the recipe is a steel plate with a wooden handle that can be kept on direct flame. It enables roasting of 2 eggplants or 5-6 capsicum / tomatoes etc. In case you do not have this in your pantry, please opt for roasting over direct flame. This Roasting plate can be used to roast your papad too. 
  • Finely chop your onions. I have used a chopper for the same, helps in speeding the process too. 
  • You can puree or chop the tomatoes. I prefer adding the puree for the smooth gravy texture. 
  • Adding Green chillies is optional. We prefer the sabzi to be slightly spicy so have added the same. Modify the quantity according to your taste. 
  • For a more richer taste, you can cook this recipe in butter or desi ghee (clarified butter). Since the recipe is vegan, I have avoided the same. 
  • Lemon juice is optional. Add it after the flame has switched off and / or cut the lime wedges and serve it individually during lunch. 

Want some really cool ideas to use leftover Baingan Ka Bharta?

  1. Smear some left over bharta over sliced baguettes and then sprinkle few drops of olive oil and some grated cheese (just a tsp), grill it for 5 minutes and you will have the desi bruschettas ready.
  2. Bombay Sandwich with Baingan ka Bharta – Smear a layer of baingan ka bharta over the buttered and chutney laden slices of bread, add sliced boiled beetroots, tomatoes, cucumber and some cheese (optional). Grill it, slice it and serve it piping hot. You won’t miss the potato masala.
  3. Make left over baingan ka bharta parathas by adding boiled and mashed potatoes along with some chaat masala or amchur powder, chopped coriander leaves etc to the whole wheat flour.

I have not added a lot of masalas to this recipe like coriander powder, Jeera powder etc. You are free to add as per your taste and preferences. I, personally, don’t like to overpower the flavor of the smoked aubergines by adding loads of masalas.

With winter slowly setting in most parts of the world, I thought this was the apt time to revise this old post on the blog (December 2017) with better pictures and step wise instructions. Hope you enjoy them.

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Thank you for visiting

Vidya Narayan

Views: 1499

Vidya Narayan

Hi Everyone, I am Vidya Narayan & Welcome to my blog MasalaChilli. Born in a Traditional Palakkad Iyer (South Indian) Family with strong value systems to an exceptionally strong and independent Single Mom, spent most of my childhood studying well (as most Iyer girls do).

This Post Has 43 Comments

  1. I sometimes eat just Bharta and Dahi!

    1. Like minds! Same here .. If you go through the recipe notes (in case you haven’t), you can check the ideas in which I usually end up eating them at home.

  2. Delicious comforting sabzi ! I do feel that we may not be able to enjoy the true flavor of vegetable if too many spices were used!!

    1. I totally agree with you. Sometimes the key ingredients and in this case, the smokiness has to shine through. Glad we share the same thought! thank you dear.

  3. I love baingan ka bhartha..I don’t much like the smoky flavour that comes from roasting the eggplants on an open fire, though, so I make the bhartha in a slightly different manner. Will be sharing the recipe on my blog soon.

    Love your recipe notes on using up extra baingan ka bhartha! 🙂

    1. Thanks for loving the notes, shall look forward to your version of the recipe. Cheers!

  4. Winter and baingan bharta — a lovely combo…looks tempting

  5. I love to eat this with fresh jowar ki roti … u make me hungry 😋

  6. Fingerlicking baingan ka bharta, lipsmacjing dish, just love with some rotis.

    1. Thank you for the kind words. Glad you loved the recipe notes. I love leftovers!

  7. I love a good baingan ka bartha, in fact that’s the only way I seem to enjoy the baingan… hehe… The color looks really good…

  8. Love the ideas with leftover bharta…as the leftovers always lead to naughty innovations 😊

    1. So true right? I love to make the gravy veggies or such type of sabzis a bit extra for the next day. Thank you dear.

  9. I can eat this by the spoonful….yummy looking Bharta and great recipe 😍😍

  10. Eggplants are a favourite for me and this recipe among them as well.

  11. Hi Vidya, your and my story matches. Same here, my husband hates it and my daughter and I love it. And baba ghanush is our favourite.
    Loved the ideas with the leftover bharta.

    1. Hey Nivedita. Thank you for stopping by and pouring your kind words. Glad you loved the post and also great to know our stories match. Cheers!

  12. This is one of my favourite. Tastes good with jowar roti.

  13. You know what Baingan mera pahela pyaar, and Baingan ka Bhartha pops up on our table now and then 🙂 I love to devour with Bajra roti, garlic chutney, bit of jaggery and chaas 🙂

    1. You have highlighted the perfect accompaniments that go with this humble sabzi. Its my pehla pyaar too in any form actually. Yay!! Cheers and thank you so much for stopping by.

  14. What a mouth watering Bharta…. Love it with Bajra roti… Your tips on use of leftover Bharta is super tempting… Will surely try someday…

    1. Thank you so much dear. Glad you liked the recipe notes.

  15. I can have baingan in any form and this bharta is our family favourite. It looks so delicious.

  16. Baingan ka bharta is most likely ves recipe in any desi kitchen. The taste of smoky eggplant is so delicious.

    1. Absolutely Afroz, I love that smokiness too.. Thank you!

  17. I love Baigan ka bharta anytime of the day..and this is looking so irresistible..I wish i can have a bite of this..Awesome recipe and picture..Loved the post !!

    1. Same here. Thank you so much for all the kind words dear.

  18. We are baingan lovers , but the bharta is a totally different story, ranging from most loved to most hated between the hubby and the elder one respectively. I am partial to the sutta katrikkai their pachadi that we make regularly, but the bharta is made very rarely, if never 🙂 I am however, in love with the leftover ideas made with baingan bharta, Vidya. esp the parathas. I think i can mask the smokey flavour well that way for the kiddo and myself :p

    1. Thank you for going through the post Kalyani. I am glad you found the ideas useful. Do try and let me know. I always end up cooking this sabzi extra (on purpose) and enjoy it for a couple of days more (no complaints), hence the ideas. PS – Parathas are good and so are the sandwiches, I love how it replaces potatoes entirely.

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